5 tips for small- and medium-sized businesses to succeed on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

October 12, 2021 | By: Matt Miller, Sr. Copywriter

With the biggest shopping days of the year around the corner, businesses of all sizes are gearing up to get the most out of Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM). And in recent years, consumers have been increasingly doing more of their holiday shopping at small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). In 2020, independent businesses selling on Amazon—nearly all of which were SMBs—surpassed $4.8 billion in worldwide sales from Black Friday through Cyber Monday, an increase of over 60% from 2019.1 Throughout the holiday season in 2020, American SMBs sold an average of 9,500 products per minute on Amazon.2 Whether it’s clothing, jewelry, beauty, toys, pet supplies, handmade products, or other goods, SMBs can drive sales during the holiday season on Amazon.

But what steps can SMBs take to maximize their success during Black Friday and Cyber Monday? We reached out to Michelle Meleskie, a product marketer at Perpetua (which provides advertising optimization and reporting for Amazon Ads products), for some tips on what SMBs can do to flourish during this key holiday period.

Big shopping events call for bigger budgets

Cyber Monday 2020 marked the largest online shopping day in US history, with $10.8 billion in sales, an increase of 15.1% year over year, according to Forbes. According to Meleskie, during this time, “the most important thing you can do is increase the budgets on your advertising campaigns.”

Perpetua sees spend increase about three times across all their advertisers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. “If you don't have an increased budget, your campaigns will go dark and you will lose out on traffic,” Meleskie said. “This is extra important as throughout the day, as other advertisers' campaigns go dark, cost-per-clicks decrease.”

Meleskie said that on average Perpetua sees advertisers increase budget by three times, but spending may increase more or less depending on the SMB's specific category.

Make sure your ads have everything customers need

Amazon Ads always recommends brands maintain the quality of their product information and detail pages. But this is especially important during shopping events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday when impressions may be higher, but click-through rates may be lower than usual, according to Meleskie. In other words, Perpetua has seen that during BFCM, shoppers are less likely to click on an ad, but more likely to convert when they do. For that reason, brands need to craft their ads so they provide shoppers with the information they’re seeking. Use an informative, easy-to-read title that quickly gives shoppers the key facts. Feature high-quality images. Pick products with positive customer reviews. And make sure your products are in stock and reasonably priced.

Prioritize Cyber Monday if your budget is limited

Some SMBs might not have the budget to increase advertising spending by three times during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. And that’s okay, because there are other flexible ways to manage cost during these big shopping events.

For those brands working with a limited budget, Meleskie suggested prioritizing spending on Cyber Monday. “Although we see significant increases in sales on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Cyber Monday typically has a much higher conversion rate,” Meleskie said.

Perpetua has seen that shoppers are often waiting to see if specific products will go on sale during these big shopping events. By Cyber Monday, Meleskie said, shoppers are more likely to purchase one of these items even if it’s not on sale because they aren’t likely to be any time soon. “If you have limited advertising budget or you cannot compete on price with significant discounts, push more of your advertising dollars to Cyber Monday than Black Friday,” Meleskie said.

Perpetua actually sees SMBs generate more sales on Cyber Monday than Black Friday.

Take a breather the day after Cyber Monday

After all the excitement of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Perpetua has seen that shoppers need a break, too. The day after Cyber Monday sees high cost-per-click rates, decreased conversion rates, and higher advertising cost of sales (ACOS) than normal, according to Meleskie. Brands might consider reallocating money from the day after Cyber Monday toward the actual shopping event campaigns. “If you need to rearrange budget in order to increase it for this shopping event, take it from the day after Cyber Monday,” Meleskie said. She also recommends that any brands that increase advertising spending during the shopping event should remember to scale back after Cyber Monday.

Reconnect with shoppers during the remainder of the season

But the shopping journey doesn’t end after Black Friday. A recent Amazon Ads/Kantar survey found that 67% of holiday shoppers won’t complete their shopping until after Black Friday and Cyber Monday.3 There are still a few more weeks of the holiday season, after all. Meleskie suggests that SMBs use tools like Sponsored Display and Amazon DSP to remarket to audiences who may have viewed your product display pages but didn’t make purchases during Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

Small- and medium-sized businesses should not feel intimidated by the biggest shopping days of the year. In fact, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have proven to be holiday events where SMBs can see major wins. With some smart strategizing, this could be another record holiday season for SMBs.

1 “Supporting small, saving big, and shopping early: Amazon customers make the 2020 holiday season our biggest yet,” Aboutamazon.com, 2020.
2 “Supporting small, saving big, and shopping early: Amazon customers make the 2020 holiday season our biggest yet,” Aboutamazon.com, 2020.
3 Kantar Quickfire survey U.S. 500 participants who have shopped during the Q4 2019/2020 holiday season and plan to do so in 2021.